Fri, 11 Jun 2004

Indonesian version of Windows XP launched

Tony Hotland, Jakarta

Aiming to help narrow the technology gap among Indonesians, Microsoft Indonesia officially launched the Indonesian language version of its flagship Windows XP operating system here on Thursday.

Microsoft Indonesia president Tony Chen said that language differences had been a major obstacle for Indonesians when absorbing information technology.

"If we can help by providing Indonesian language software to help them understand the technology, why not? It's important, as less than 5 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people are computer literate," he said.

However, the local version has yet to be fully developed, for only the contents in the interface system and Windows Explorer have been translated.

No content in the application systems, such as Microsoft Office and its elements like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, or other systems, have yet been translated.

"We're still at the language interface pack (LIP) localization level. The highest is full localization, in which all of the system will have been translated. I cannot predict when we'll get there though," Tony said.

The next element to be translated, he added, was Microsoft Office, scheduled for completion in December.

Microsoft Indonesia has been working since August 2003 in partnership with the Bandung Institute of Technology, software developer Andal Software and the Ministry of National Education's language center to put together the version.

For those who already have a computer with a Microsoft system (whether original or pirated), the local version can be downloaded from

For those who want to buy a new computer, this version can be included when purchasing Microsoft software, at no extra cost.

Localization of its software system is Microsoft's latest global move, especially in emerging markets in developing countries, to curb rampant piracy and compete with open-source alternatives, which can be downloaded at no cost but are less user-friendly than Microsoft.

Microsoft Indonesia desktop product manager Wesly Sumenap told The Jakarta Post that competition was a healthy factor in the industry and it was up to consumers to choose whatever product they wished to use.

The first southeast Asian country with Windows XP, with both Home Edition and Professional Edition fully localized, was Thailand in 2003. Microsoft sells the combined software for only 1,500 baht (US$38). English Windows XP Home is sold for 4,500 baht ($114) and Professional for 15,000 baht ($380).

Tony refused to disclose the projected price of the fully localized version of Indonesian Windows XP, saying that the process still had a long way to go.

At present, an original copy of Microsoft's Windows XP costs $99 and Microsoft Office costs $149.

Tony also acknowledged that some difficulty would exist for Windows users who are already used to the English version, but gave an assurance that it would be only a matter of time before people would get accustomed to the local version.